Latest News and Articles
Retrospective on Retrospectives (Alexandru Ilinca on 12/18/2020)
First retrospectives were very cold. It was like robots were talking "beep, boop, I can increase my productivity if my parameters are checked hourly, over" We were all introverts, awkward people. We were good at our jobs, but communication wasn't our greatest skill, it wasn't a skill at all.
How Scrum teams can thrive remotely? (Paulene Duque on 05/05/2020)
Teams from all over the world were caught off guard when the pandemic, COVID-19 broke in. It brought a scare not just to the economy but how businesses and teams collaborate. Most of the countries affected were brought to a lockdown, enforcing people to stay within the confines of their homes until everything is resolved. While this posed as a challenge for most businesses and teams, it has been evident that in the past five years, working from home or remote work has been both an option and alternative for business continuity. The question is - are teams prepared for it?
Why does my team miss sprint deadlines? 3 most common reasons explained. (Stanley Ang on 09/22/2019)
Have you ever felt that you have more tasks than you have time? Or that your customers are always at your back chasing for something to be delivered? How about needing to work extra hours and even on the weekends just to meet deadlines? When things like these happen, it affects the employees, the customers, and the organization.
I Already Empowered My Team… Why Are They Still Not Talking? (Stanley Ang on 09/07/2019)
For companies that have transformed themselves to having open communication without judgement, it is a big step forward. But with some studies made in the past 5 years, these companies that promoted open communications still had a common problem, which brings us to the question: why are their employees still not talking even though they have empowered them in their work?
Retrospective on Retrospectives (Alexandru Ilinca on 08/31/2019)
One of my favorite frame of discussion regarding ceremonies is Retrospective. It has clear intention and powerful benefits. You have the opportunity to stop and take a look at where you are. Did we run in a good direction? Are we still on the right path? Everybody knows people are different. Also, everybody knows that there are extroverts and introverts. It is known that extroverts get their energy interacting with people, introverts are beings that relax and energize with themselves. So how does a retrospective work when you have introverts in your team? Is it possible for them to survive?
Case Study from Real World Experience: Microsoft Customer Support (Jon Fincher on 08/12/2019)
I was hired at Microsoft as a Support Engineer in Customer Support Services (CSS) in 1995, and over the course of my early career, I supported a number of products. At the time, Microsoft had telephone support available for anyone who purchased a product, as well as second tier of support for developer products and difficult cases. We were expected to analyze and answer customer questions, provide answers or explain why the problem could not be solved, and in general ensure customers were satisfied with the products and support they received.
How Do You Like To Eat Your Cake? A View on Vertical Slicing (Stanley Ang on 08/10/2019)
In my journey of transforming organizations to Agile, I have seen different ways on how the teams split epics into user stories. For organizations that practiced the Waterfall model, they would practice slicing the work by layers, such as the User Interface layer, Business layer, Security layer, and Data layer. So, what’s wrong with this? Let me give you a real-life scenario.
Case Study from Real World Experience: The Real Python (Jon Fincher on 08/06/2019)
I write for a website called realpython.com, which focuses on providing content and training on the Python programming language. Every writer for the website is remotely located — there are writers on six continents, across many different time zones. So how do we organize our efforts? How do we correct ourselves when we’re headed astray?
Cooking an Agile Team - What are the 3 ingredients to a sustainable Agile team? (Paulene Duque on 08/04/2019)
Creating and sustaining a team is not easy. But with the right recipe and ingredients, your team can make it through the changes that will come along their way and still provide satisfaction.
Case Study from Real World Experience: Microsoft Windows Sustained Engineering Teams (Jon Fincher on 06/15/2019)
When I first started as a program manager in WinSE, there were two distinct Windows servicing groups — one located in Redmond, WA, and the second in Hyderabad, India. The team in Redmond serviced the most recently release version of Windows, while the team in India owned all the serviced versions of Windows prior to that. For example, at one point, the team in Redmond would service Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, while the team in India would service Windows Vista, Server 2003, and so on. Each location had a full servicing team available, including program managers, developers, and testers. The exception was release, which was owned in Redmond only.
Stuck in the past: Are you running your Agile team still as Waterfall? (Tudor Tofan on 05/14/2019)
Nowadays, one of the most used buzzwords in the IT industry and not only, is Agile. Everyone’s using it one way or another. The traditional roles are getting revamped by adding “Agile” in front of them (e.g. Agile Project Manager, Agile Business Analyst) and there are also new roles, such as Scrum Master or Product Owner. Since you’re reading these words, it seems that you’re already, at least, taking Agile into consideration. But is it really Agile what you’re adopting? Or is it just cherry picking from what the Agile approach is promoting, with very limited results in the end?
Case Study from Real World Experience: Real Python (Jon Fincher on 05/14/2019)
I work as a writer for the Real Python website. Real Python provides high quality content and training on the Python programming language, and is a fully remote team. I am privileged to work with a diverse, highly talented group of writers and editors on six different continents, across the wide range of time zones. Now, the team does not follow a full Scrum model. I’ve never been in a sprint planning meeting, nor do we have daily stand-up meetings. However, the team does exhibit many of the qualities of a good Agile team.
Video: Jon Fincher reveals the secret formula of successfully managing international Scrum teams. (Jon Fincher on 05/13/2019)
In another life, I was a Program Manager at Microsoft, managing the servicing of Windows operating system. I want to talk to you today on how we managed a distributed team, also called an offshore team. We had two distinct teams; one located in Redmond that was responsible of servicing the current version of Windows, we also had another team located in Hyderabad India and they were responsible for servicing every other operating system we had that was downlevel. It is important to note that each location, both Redmond and India, had a full servicing team. They had program managers, they had engineers, they had management, everything was there. The only thing that was shared was release, that always happened in Redmond.
Case Study from Real World Experience: The Removal of Windows Journal (Jon Fincher on 05/03/2019)
One of my last projects at Microsoft was removing Windows Journal from the operating system. There were a number of security exploits reported in the product, and due to its age and the availability of better, more secure note-taking alternatives, we made the decision to remove it.
You need Scrum certification even if you already know Scrum (Dzanan Gvozden on 05/02/2019)
There’s a pretty well-known image of a conversation between a CTO and a CFO about investing in developing the knowledge of their people, circling the internet and it goes something like this:
CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave?”
CEO to CFO: “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”
Top 6 Mistakes a Scrum Master Does Every Day (and How to Fix Them) (Paulene Duque on 04/25/2019)
Your organization decided to do Scrum. The training was provided and you have been assigned as a Scrum Master. For a couple of months, you seem to be doing okay. You facilitate ceremonies, help remove blockers and assist the team if in case they need anything. But at some point, the output is still not at its best, people still work in silos and stakeholders are still busy. Like what's done in a retrospective, you ask yourself, "What went wrong?"
How to Say "No" to Customers Without Actually Saying "No" (Stanley Ang on 04/25/2019)
In an Agile environment, the ideal practice in communicating to Customers is through the Product Owners. One of the most important responsibilities of a Product Owner is to set the expectations of a Customer and provide them with timely information on when an epic or story will be worked on and when it will be completed. At the same time, the Product Owner needs to be able to cascade the information clearly to the Team. From my experience, a Customer’s attitude may differ, and when I say differ, it can be from extremely lenient to extremely stubborn. What if you are faced with a Customer who is stubborn and can’t take “no” for an answer? What will you do?
Case Study from Real World Experience: Microsoft WinSE UEX/DevX Teams (Jon Fincher on 04/23/2019)
For a number of years, I was the senior Program Manager for the User Experience and Developer Experience (aka UEX and DevX) teams within Windows Sustained Engineering (aka WinSE). These Redmond-based teams were responsible for providing hotfixes and security updates for Windows operating system components such as the Windows Shell, Media Player, GDI, and windowing subsystems. I was one of several PM’s who coordinated servicing work with the engineering teams responsible for these components.
Scrum as Team Builder (Alexandru Ilinca on 04/22/2019)
It was a beautiful day of May. I was a fresh graduate and I was frightened because I just started working at a company as a System Analyst. Everything was new.
"So listen up Junior! We do things like this…"
So I opened up and began to learn how to deliver. I wanted to be a professional. And information started to pour like a waterfall. Waterfall was the way to deliver. It didn’t feel quite right.
4 Immutable Traits of Successful Product Owners (Dzanan Gvozden on 04/22/2019)
Project Manager role has been split into two roles in Scrum: Product Owner and Scrum Master. Admittedly, Scrum Master is closer to what Project Manager used to be and do, but what makes for a good Product Owner then? Well, here are the 4 key characteristics of a successful Scrum Product Owner.
Case Study from Real World Experience: Support vs. Engineering (Jon Fincher on 04/21/2019)
One of the turning points of my career at Microsoft came when I began supporting Windows NT 4.0 Embedded (which I’ll call NTE). At the time, it was the new embedded product, joining Windows CE, and I was the sole support engineer for the product.
Scrum Master during Agile Transformation: 5 Most Common Mistakes (Stanley Ang on 04/20/2019)
The thought of transforming a company to Agile might sound good, but we need to be careful with the pitfalls that may come with it. Here we are going to focus on the common mistakes of a Scrum Master.
Case Study from Real World Experience: Diversity on Real Python (Jon Fincher on 04/15/2019)
As mentioned in my previous blog posts, the Real Python team is comprised of writers and reviewers on six different continents and a variety of time zones. This diverse team helps Real Python create compelling content every week, and the topics range from the very basic to the deeply expert.
5 Tips Towards Better Agility (Dzanan Gvozden on 04/11/2019)
Understanding Scrum and implementing it within an organization can present a challenge for many people doing the big jump. Simply said, practice and theory is often misaligned.
Here are some tips to help you on your road towards better agility!
Jon Fincher Shares Thoughts on Importance of People (Jon Fincher on 03/22/2019)
As geek as you may be, you will achieve only as much as your team allows you. This is why it is important to build or join a great team and rely on them to multiply your productivity. Jon Fincher, former Senior Program Manager at Microsoft shares his thoughts on importance of teams even if you are a force of nature as an individual contributor.
Video: James Rodrigues Explains Why Shooting for Stars is Not Necessarily a Good Idea (James Rodrigues on 03/16/2019)
I have seen time and again that managers want to land a rocket on the moon so they ask the team to reach the stars while thinking that this will at least reach the moon. It is a wrong way of managing people and makes them feel overwhelmed and you may find that what reaches the moon sucks.
International Scrum Assembly™ formed a partnership with SolutionsData in Miraflores, Peru. Richard Aquije Rivera, founder of SolutionsData (http://solutionsdataconsultores.com) and a successful entrepreneur with 24 years of experience, has partnered up with International Scrum Assembly™ to teach SCRUM to Peruvians! He is an accredited SCRUM trainer and he offers one-on-one as well as group training on site. Contact info: +051 9867-73519 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hurry up, limited availability!
There is an organization called International Scrum Assembly that provides free online SCRUM training. They put a lot of effort into their training material so that you can learn the core of SCRUM quickly at the convenience of your home.
Read the full post on Daniel's blog: https://adventuresinqa.com/2019/02/06/scrum-for-companies/
Scrum Principle #1 Made Clear! (Emily Sands on 01/08/2019)
Scrum is built on 12 distinct principles of the Agile Manifesto. The better you understand these 12 principles, the better you understand how to apply Scrum Framework in your daily work. The first principle is: "Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software!". But what does that mean, really? Let's analyze this principle word by word along with the values, principles, and practices that they relate to.
LRM Explained! (Emily Sands on 12/16/2018)
Theodore Roosevelt said “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” …and many other emphasized the importance of decisiveness especially for those who have authority. Brian Tracy said “Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.”